13 Best Hikes in Arches National Park you have to see!
Where is the best hiking in arches national park?
Arches National Park is located in Utah and is the most popular of the Mighty 5 National Parks in Utah. And with good reason, hiking Arches National Park is an amazing experience.
After my visit to the Southwest last month, hiking Arches National Park was my favorite thing I did in Utah. No two arches are the same. Its amazing to see what the wind has carved out in this part of the world. The landscape is just mind blowing to see.
The most popular hikes are to different arches in the park. Surprise surprise! There are over 2000 arches in the park covering the landscape of the area. With so many arches it may be hard to decide which hikes to do and what to see. That’s why I’ve put together this guide of the best hikes in Arches.
This hiking guide to Arches NP will cover the best arches in Arches National Park to visit. While it may only take less than an hour to drive the entirety of Arches, you will want to make so many stops along the way to see the arches.
Hiking Guide to the best arches in Arches National Park
This guide to hiking Arches National Park covers all different types of hikes. Most of the hikes are easy hikes in Arches National Park but there are a few moderate ones and even a difficult one.
If you are short on time, I would recommend visiting Delicate Arch, Double Arch, and Landscape Arch as these are the most popular hikes in Arches National Park. We only had a day in the park and while it was crowded we were able to visit a lot of the park and do quite a few hikes.
If you want to know where are all the popular hikes just follow the cars. Even though I visited in the summer I did find that there was ample parking throughout the park and especially at the most popular hikes. Remember to bring plenty of water as temperatures reached over 100 degrees when we visited. There are no drinking fountains in the park but there were plenty of restrooms (with long drop toilets).
Delicate Arch is the most famous arch in the park
This is the most popular hike in Arches. Delicate Arch is the largest free-standing arch (46 feet high and 32 feet wide) in the Arches National Park. Delicate Arch is the symbol of Utah – you can see an image of the arch on the Utah’s license plates.
With nicknames such as Cowboy Chaps and Old Maid’s Bloomers it only became known as Delicate Arch in 1943 because of the way that it looks to have been delicately chiseled out of sandstone.
There are three ways to see Delicate Arch. The first is through a 3 mile hike to see the arch up close. The second is a short half mile hike up to a upper view point and the third is 100 metres to the lower viewpoint.
The trail to Delicate Arch is only three miles round trip but it is quite difficult. The hike is considered difficult as there is no shade along the way and it is steep near the top. Some may find it easy enough to make it up to the arch but there are some rugged places. There also can be slippery rocks along the way.
This hike takes around 1.5 hours to complete. Just follow the cairns that the rangers have set up to lead the way. A cairn is a pile of rocks that are used as markers on a trail.
The Delicate Arch sits atop of a large sandstone bowl. At the top it is flat enough to walk comfortably on, so you can take photos of the Arch. Remember you cannot climb or stand on the arch itself.
The second hike is to the Upper Viewpoint. From the parking lot it is only half a mile away but it is very steep at the end. The upper viewpoint is a great way to see the arch without the long hike. You will still have to do some walking, but it is shorter and easier than the hike to Delicate Arch. It takes 15-30 minutes to get to the top of the viewpoint.
The third is the lower viewpoint which is simply walking 100 yards to the viewpoint area. While you can definitely see the Arch from this viewpoint you cannot really get any idea how big the arch is or any of the detail of the arch. This view point is wheel chair accessible as well.
If you do not want to do the full hike to the arch, I would do the hike to the upper view point. The lower view point just does not give you a good enough view of Delicate Arch.
The best time of day to visit this arch is in the evening. This hike is very popular at sunset as the colors at sunset are truly beautiful. At sunset the sun is at the perfect spot for photographs of the arch along with the colors in the sky. Do note this will also be the most crowded time to visit Delicate Arch.
Landscape Arch is the longest arch in the park
Landscape arch is the longest arch in the Arches National Park at 306 feet long and one of the largest arches in the world.
Landscape Arch is in the Devils Garden area and can be reached by doing the Primitive Trail (another hike mentioned below) in the Devil’s Garden Loop which is 7.2 miles long. If you do not want to do the whole 7.2 mile loop you can hike directly to Landscape Arch.
If you head directly to Landscape Arch, it is an easy to moderate 1.6 mile round trip hike. This easy hike is a great way to stretch your legs and see one of the most photographed arches in the national park.
Parts of the arch have eroded over time. There used to be a trail beneath the arch which was closed in 1995 after two large rocks the size of cars fell. This beautiful arch has been carved out over years and years of erosion. I was happy to see this site before more of the arch disappears.
Double Arch my favorite hike and arch in the park
This is my favorite spot in the whole park. I love how you can see the arch from the parking lot (I’m not recommending seeing it that way) but I love how it changes as you hike up there and can really see the detail of the arches.
While this is only a half-a-mile round trip you will see interesting formations in the rock as well as a better view of both of the arches.
It is an easy hike, and anyone can enjoy it. There are two arches sharing the same foundation which makes it look like outer legs. This is how it got the name Double Arch. This formation is different from the others in that the water ran downwards from the top instead of side-to-side to form the arches.
We visited Doubles Arch in the afternoon. This was really nice as it was extremely hot outside and this was a short hike so once we got to the top we were able to sit in the shade and just take it all in. Once you are up there you are able to explore around and take in the view.
Also known as the Spectacles this hike is a one-mile loop located right next to Double Arch. It got this name because when you see it you will see what looks like a set of eyeglasses with a nose made of rocks sticking out between them.
If you prefer an easier climb go in a clockwise direction. This is the easiest way because the incline is spread out over a larger area. When you reach the North Window Arch you can see a colorful desert. For the photographers the best time to get great photos is late in the afternoon.
This was probably the most crowded of the arches that we visited while we were there. I’m not sure if that is because when you come into the parking lot this is the first stop or maybe people don’t know you can keep going and there are more hikes in the area. It was a beautiful hike and look out but I preferred Double Arch.
Devil’s Garden Loop a great way to see several arches
This 7.2 mile hike takes you through seven different arches such as the Tunnel Arch, Partition Arch, Navajo Arch, Wall Arch, Pine Tree Arch, Double O Arch, and Landscape Arch (another popular arch).
This area has the most natural arches in the world. It will take you about four to five hours to get to the top of this arch. Open all year long the only difficult time is when it has snowed otherwise there is nothing hard about the hike. This is a perfect hike for photographers who want to get the perfect photos of the arches.
From its location eighteen miles from the entrance to the park the trail goes along primitive loops and spurs for 7.2 miles.
This arch which has a span of seventy-one feet and is thirty-three and a half feet high has a pile of rocks at the bottom.
These rocks are from 1940 when a boulder fell out of the arch creating an opening twice the size it had been. This trail is not wheelchair accessible nor are pets allowed. If you are in a wheelchair, you can take a paved path to the campground amphitheater and get a closer view of the arch.
When you look at this one-hundred- and twenty-eight-feet tall formation you will wonder how on earth does it stay balanced. That is just part of an illusion. It is one complete formation that is attached to the mud-stone of the Dewey Bridge.
They expect that the three thousand six-hundred-ton boulder will fall as erosion continues to wear on the rock formation. While many other arches cannot be seen from the park road, this one can be.
It is just a short hike of 0.3 miles around the base of the rock. This will enable you to get a closeup view of this beautiful rock formation. There is a picnic area across from the Balanced Rock which has tables and toilets A perfect place for the family to end the day. This is just one of the best hikes in Arches National Park.
Park Avenue trail a two-mile round-trip is an easy hike. While you can get a good view of the arch from the lookout, you need to hike the trail to get a feeling of how this trail was created.
Walking between the huge monoliths it reminds you of Park Avenue in New York a street with skyscrapers on each side. When walking this trail, you also get great views other rock formations such as The Organ and The Three Gossips.
The Windows trail is a five-acre area within Arches National Park. The trail is well maintained with gravel making it easy to hike. It comprises a North and South Window rock formations. You have the choice to leave the main trail and take the primitive trail.
The trail is worth it to visit the North Window which is large and beautiful. The South Window is bowl shaped by rocks that are hollow. Water that flowed below the surface a million years ago created this hollowness. The Windows trail is two loops so you can hike in which ever directions you choose.
This arch is the smallest of the arches you will see on the Windows Loop Trail. Its formation is like that of a castle with a spire which is where it gets its names. It has two holes one up high and then the lower one which you can walk through.
If you are there to take pictures you will want to make the hike early moaning. The site is breathtaking in the early morning light.
Sand Dune Arch
This is the perfect arch to take the kids to. It is only a. 3-mile hike which is easy for anyone to walk. The kids will love this arch because of the bottom of the sandstone which looks like a sandy beach.
The kids will love playing in this sand and playing hide and seek in all the hidden crevices. While alone it would only take your fifteen minutes to be in an out expect to stay a lot longer if you have kids with you. There is even a route you can take where you will find a pothole that is filled with water after it rains. This another one of the best hikes in Arches National Park.
Fiery Furnace is the most difficult hike in the park
This is a challenging trail that can cause even the best hikers to get confused. It roams through canyons and gorges for a two-mile round-trip. While you can hike this yourself it is considered a good idea to take a guided tour until you are familiar enough with the trails. This will help keep you from getting lost. It is a maze that has a lot of different formations you may find interesting.
Made of sandstone these formations comprise overhangs, passages and arches. As there is not trail, hikers can roam all over the area as much as they want. This hike is of moderate difficulty.
Petrified Dunes Lookout
This hike is an easy mile. This site was once a large area of sand dunes but two million years ago winds swept off tons of tiny sand particles turning this into a desert. as time passed other particles covered these sand drifts.
These sediment particles were compressed and cemented by calcite and quartz turning it into Navajo Sandstone. The layers were returned to the original dune-shape by erosion. Petrified refers to the fact that sand has been cemented into the rock.
There is no trail to these dunes. You just take off walking being sure to leave enough time to make a return trip. If you feel you are lost just head due west. You will run into the park’s main road and be able to make your way back.
Info about Arches National Park
One of the things that surprised me the most about Arches National Park is how steep the entrance to the park is when you drive in! Its crazy steep and little bit scary to drive the first bit into the National Park. After that it is fine.
Also, due to the popularity of Arches National Park, the turn off to the park can be backed up and you can’t actually turn. From Moab, you drive north on US 191 for five miles. If the turn off is back up you will need to continue driving and wait for it to clear. That’s just how popular this park is to visit!
Entrance Fees: It costs $30 per vehicle to enter the park and this is good for seven days. For $55 you can purchase a Southeast Utah parks pass, which also gets you into Canyonlands National Park. We purchased an annual National Parks pass which is called America the Beautiful Pass for $80.
With this annual pass you can visit over 2,000 federal recreation sites. This is worth it if you also plan to visit more of Utah’s Mighty 5, including Capitol Reef, Zion, Bryce Canyon, or any other US National Park within the year.
Conclusion – Arches National Park Hikes
I hope you have enjoyed this list of Arches National Park Hikes. It is a beautiful place to explore and I hope you enjoy your time in the National Park. Let me know in the comments what hikes you have done there!
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